- Gary Gygax (OD&D) July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008
- Bob Bledsaw (Judges Guild) May 18, 1942 – April 19, 2008
- Erick Wujcik (Amber Diceless) January 26, 1951 – June 7, 2008
- Dave Arneson (OD&D, Blackmoor) October 1, 1947 – April 7, 2009
- M.A.R. Barker (Tekumel / Empire of the Petal Throne) November 3, 1929– March 16, 2012
In August 2008, the first – and, to date, only – Liftetime Achievement ENnies were given out during the awards ceremony at Gen Con. Along with Dungeons & Dragons creators Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, Erick Wujcik was recognized for his contributions to the gaming industry. Wujcik was also inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame by the Game Manufacturers Association at the 37th Origins Awards on June 25, 2011.
Bob Bledsaw and partner Bill Owen founded The Judges Guild Game Co. in 1976 in Decatur, IL, which manufactured role-playing games and supplies. Bledsaw designed the classic City State of the Invincible Overlord with the assistance of Owen.
Known as "the forgotten Tolkien," Professor M.A.R. Barker taught South Asian studies at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he chaired that Department until his retirement in the early 1990s. Having watched the Dungeons & Dragons games started by Mike Mornard (one of the original testers for D&D) when he moved to Minneapolis, Barker resolved to create his own ruleset based on his own created world of Tekumel and the game mechanics from D&D. After six weeks, this was self-published in August 1974 as Empire of the Petal Throne. One of his players was Dave Arneson - who singled-out Barker and Tekumel as being his favorite GM and roleplaying game, respectively - from those early days.